03 August 2014, Lagos — The Nigerian Navy said yesterday that most high profile crimes committed within and around the country’s territorial waters are done by foreigners. It added that such crimes are committed with connivance of criminally minded Nigerians, and are funded by multi-national oil companies.
Flag Officer Commanding ((FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, made this disclosure while receiving Naval officers from the British Royal Navy, who paid him a courtesy call.
Admiral Alade said: “Henceforth, when we arrest such foreigners we will hand them over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. The responsibility for sedcuring the Nigerian maritime domain is that of the Nigerian Navy and we are poised to take total control of the waters and rid the area of any form of illegalities”.
He said though, there are private security companies that have an understanding with the Nigerian Navy to provide security on the nation’s waters, some others who do not have permits to operate are doing so.
“For those of them who have MOU, we will allow to operate with their vessels. But those without permits are advised to leave or face the consequences. We normally attach our personnel to such vessels like the Ocean Marine Security Company limited and Protection Plus.
We are aware of what is still happening on Somalian waters at the Gulf of Aden. The crime over there particularly piracy, kidnappings and others have really gone down and some of them might have found their way to the Gulf of Guinea. Some foreigners have been arrested on our waters for perpetrating illegalities,” he said.
The Commanding Officer, Her Royal Majesty Ship (HMS) Iron Duke, Commander Tom Tredery, said their visit is to work with officers and ratings of the Nigerian Navy.
“We are looking forward to training and exercising together. Our range of training will include navigation, engineering, damage control and fire fighting, boarding party and security operations. The security challenges on the Gulf of Guinea are primarily piracy and maritime crime, which are clearly threats to all countries and not just Nigeria. When there is a crime at sea, it affects every nation because so much of the world’s trade flows by sea”, he said.
*Eugene Agha – Daily Trust